Ask Lafeber

Question:

October 12, 2020

Sleep Environment


My GCC sleeps in a smaller cage in my walk in closet at night. She has a little shelf she doesn’t use, but chooses to sleep while clinging to her cage. Her favorite place to nap during the day is snuggled into my hair. I’m worried she’s not comfortable enough at night and want to find her something safe to snuggle into. I know the fuzzy huts are dangerous, is there anything else I can put in there for her to cuddle and to keep warm?


Answer:

Hi Lauren,

It is very common for conures and some other parrots to sleep this way. It is probably related to they way they sleep in the wild. They live in flocks in the wild, as a defense against predators. They prefer tall trees – most captive parrots prefer to sleep on their highest perch, or as high in the cage as they can get. I’ve never used sleep cages for my birds. It really isn’t necessary except when the bird is very young, because a young bird is still clumsy so a smaller cage to sleep in can be safer. She may not feel as safe in the small cage now, or where the cage is. You might try letting her stay in her regular cage and just cover it at night if you are staying up late and feel like you are disturbing her. I would not get her anything to sleep in. Adult birds do not sleep in nests. I’m not a fan of the bird huts and tents once a bird is fully grown and past the clumsy stage. Tents and huts and really anything she can get inside of will end up triggering her hormones, and then you have a hormonal bird who may start laying eggs. When this happens, it can be hard to stop, and you end up having to take her to a Vet for a hormone shot or implant. Sleeping in your hair is also going to be a hormone trigger at some point. Captive raised conures can become hormonal as young as 8 months old, even though they are much too young to breed at that age. There are environmental triggers as well as social lessons from flock members in the wild which prevents a bird from breeding when it is still too young and from laying eggs other than during the short breeding season. The rest of the year, they roost in trees. It is natural for us to feel like they would want a soft, cozy place to sleep, because that’s what we like. But birds don’t need this. Their feathers are designed to maintain their body temperature, and birds are much more likely to overheat than get too cold. They don’t snuggle in things in the wild, and if we let them do it in captivity, it just causes hormonal issues and a lot of confusion for the bird. We have learned to take our signals from wild parrots and approach our captive parrot care in the same way, because parrots are wild animals that have been raised in captivity, versus a domestic animal like a dog or cat. So don’t feel guilty about her sleeping habits – she is quite normal. And definitely start weaning her from the hair naps or you will end up with hormone related behavior issues. Green Cheeks get very bitey when they get hormonal and that’s no fun for either of you.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

Subscribe to our newsletter